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What is a day in the life of a RA like?


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I will be a research assistant at TAMU in the Fall, though every program is different, I'd like to know from those of you with RA experience in Political Science, what the job entails. (Even anecdotal accounts will be helpful.)

 

Are you always up on your feet or in different buildings/offices?

Do you attend/lead meetings?

Is most of the time spent behind a desk?

Do you have a little office or work area? 

Do you work at home (even if it's in-part)? Does your work at home count as required hours? 

How was your 20 hour (or so) work week split up? (Was it erratic or the fairly similar each week?)

How do your responsibilities change over time, with more experience under your belt?

Do you work more independently, with other graduate students, or just with yourself and your adviser?

How demanding is the work? Describe the output of work you have done over the course of a semester. 

 

Feel free to add anything else that demonstrates your experiences. I've tried searching for some testimonies of PoliSci RA's, but there wasn't much detail. 

 

Thanks!

 

 

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I would say, take it easy. Everything you need to know will be explained to you once you start and you will do just fine. For every question you list up there, you can easily get answers here that would suggest entirely different experiences. Honestly I thought what my answers to those questions would be and what kind inferences you would draw from them, but I couldn't arrive at anything useful. If you are really really curious, I would e-mail the senior theory grad students at A&M. It is likely that even their experiences will differ completely based on to who or to what tasks they are assigned, but you can at least get a much more relevant picture from them than you will ever get here.

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This.  There really isn't a "day in the life of an RA."  The gigs are far too idiosyncratic.  When you get to campus, it will be very important that you have the expectations of the gig stated in no uncertain terms.

 

I would say, take it easy. Everything you need to know will be explained to you once you start and you will do just fine. For every question you list up there, you can easily get answers here that would suggest entirely different experiences. Honestly I thought what my answers to those questions would be and what kind inferences you would draw from them, but I couldn't arrive at anything useful. If you are really really curious, I would e-mail the senior theory grad students at A&M. It is likely that even their experiences will differ completely based on to who or to what tasks they are assigned, but you can at least get a much more relevant picture from them than you will ever get here.

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Thanks. Makes sense.

 

I'll ask around among the senior grad students, but I'll hold off until I am down there.

 

Though I'd be curious just to hear what others have done on here. 

 

@Mac, really? High GPA and above average GRE's by no means guarantees acceptance...and CU is a competitive school.

Edited by sylark
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